Update: Hosepipe ban to stay despite 19 areas lifted out of drought status

SOME parts of the country have officially had their drought status removed leading to hopes the hosepipe ban could be lifted.

Although the Lincolnshire area is not one of the areas now out of drought, the Environment Agency has confirmed April was the wettest April since records began.

The Agency have said that South West England, the Midlands and parts of Yorkshire are no longer in drought and that hosepipe bans are ‘unlikely’ to be imposed on those areas over summer.

They say river and reservoir levels are under constant review but stressed that groundwater supplies ‘remain low’.

Dr Paul Leinster, Environment Agency Chief Executive, said today (Friday): “Water resources across England and Wales are kept constantly under review. The recent record rainfall has eased pressure on water resources in some parts of England, helping levels in rivers and reservoirs to recover and providing relief to farmers, gardeners and wildlife.

“The Environment Agency will continue to keep a close eye on the situation. Low groundwater levels remain a concern across many parts of England, with many still at a similar level to those in 1976 and unlikely to return to normal levels before the winter.

“A return to a long period of dry weather would increase the risk again.”

The 19 areas that are no longer in drought are South Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, parts of Gloucestershire, Parts of Hampshire, most of Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire.

Situation ‘serious’

An Anglian Water statement released in response said the company welcomed the effect of recent heavy rainfall but added that the situation ‘remains serious’.

It said: “While the rain has helped to refill our reservoirs, levels in the natural, groundwater aquifers remain significantly below normal.

“Water abstracted from aquifers accounts for half of all the water we supply to customers, so these groundwater stores are incredibly important sources of water.

“Some of the rain has found its way into the aquifers and some recharge has taken place. However, these underground stores were very low – in some cases historically so – after two years of well below average rainfall.

We need to remember that the few wet weeks we have just experienced comes after two dry years and most importantly, two dry winters.”

The statement added that hosepipe bans would not be lifted locally due to concerns that the already low levels will deplete further over the summer.

“This and the possibility of a third dry winter means we need to continue to do what we can to conserve water,” said the company.

More on this story will be published as we get it.